Hue Linh Duong our Vietnamese ambassador talks us through her experiences of the Good Start program for international students at Cork Institute of Technology.

On my first day at CIT I was eager but also really nervous. I went and sat down by myself in a big hall and was surrounded by people I didn’t know. International students were then separated into two groups — one for Erasmus students and another for students from different countries. The atmosphere in both groups seemed kind of cold and tense but I told myself that everything would be fine.

A group of students then walked in wearing red hoodies emblazoned with the words Good Start and brought with them a wave of positive energy. They introduced us to the faculty, the campus facilities and shared their own experiences with us. The Good Start group played some games with us to break the ice. Thanks to those games I was able to make some friends and we really joined together as a group.

Man and woman on college campus standing at a booth

The Good Start team at CIT

Good Start is a CIT initiative that helps international students like me settle in and enjoy their college experience. There is a Good Start booth on campus and the members are always there to help and answer any questions that we may have. I really appreciate the kindness and support that they offer. I remember one time I was unsure of the location of one of my classes and one of the guys walked with me to the room.

I am now settled in to campus life and have made some great friends. It can be really difficult for international students to adapt with local culture at first but with schemes such as Good Start we can ease ourselves in which makes all the difference.